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HIV science and responsible Journalism

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Satellite Meeting, Sunday 13 August 2006
XVI International AIDS Conference

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Complex science, controversial politics, competing claims and life-or-death stakes make HIV/AIDS one of the toughest beats for a journalist to cover. From San Francisco to South Africa, scientific facts and fringe theories compete for reporters'-and the public's-attention. Reporters strive for balance, but is balance always appropriate when the evidence backs one side? And how does a reporter know when an idea has scientific merit, and when it doesn't? What about when the science is truly murky? Irresponsible reporting affects policy and affects lives, but so does insufficient reporting. How do journalists get the important story of HIV/AIDS told when their editors, publishers, or readers are too busy, too uncomfortable, or too apathetic?

The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research (FCHR), and the International AIDS Society are sponsoring a pre-meeting symposium at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto. HIVMA Chair Dan Kuritzkes, MD, director of AIDS research at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital and member of the FCHR Executive Committee, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laurie Garrett will moderate the session (details below) that will offer the perspective of scientists, reporters, activists, and editors on how to provide balanced coverage about controversial issues in HIV science and medicine. For more information about the conference, please visit the IAS conference website.

When: Sunday, August 13, 10:15 am to 12:15 pm
Where: Session Room 2


  • Laurie Garrett, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Daniel Kuritzkes, MD, Harvard University


  • Marilyn Chase, The Wall Street Journal
  • Kim Honey, Toronto Star
  • John Moore, PhD, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. (View slides)
  • Tamar Kahn, Science and Health Editor, Business Day
  • Nathan Geffen, Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa. (View slides)

Contact: Karen Bennett, International AIDS Society

[email protected]

Telephone up to 18 August 2006: +1 416 991 0968

HIVMA is the professional home for more than 3,000 physicians, scientists and other health care professionals dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. Nested within the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIVMA promotes quality in HIV care and advocates policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic informed by science and social justice. IDSA is a professional society representing about 8,000 physicians and scientists who specialize in infectious diseases. For more information, visit our websites: and

The Forum for Collaborative HIV Research is a public private partnership with the mission to enhance and facilitate HIV research by bringing together all relevant stakeholders to address emerging issues in HIV/AIDS. Through our work, we identify gaps and impediments, frame issues and help set research strategy. The goal is to optimize care and treatment of those affected by HIV/AIDS and our scope includes research addressing prevention, treatment strategy, health services utilization and health policy.

The International AIDS Society (IAS) is the world's leading independent association of HIV/AIDS professionals. The IAS is the organiser of the IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment; and is custodian and lead organiser of the International AIDS Conference. The IAS has two main initiatives, the Industry Liaison Forum (ILF), focused on removing barriers to investment in research in resource-constrained nations and eJIAS, a web-based medical journal dedicated to the dissemination of HIV/AIDS research conducted in developing countries. For more information, visit

House of Numbers

An AIDS denialist film "House of Numbers" is doing the rounds at film festivals and is being promoted to college campuses and similar venues. AT has published several items about the misinformation contained in the film. For comprehensive information on the lies and distortions in the film, visit Inside House of Numbers.


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